What has been an open secret for months became official yesterday: Manitobans will be heading to the polls this September, a full year ahead of schedule.
UMSU’s Executive team has been ahead of the curve, sending each of the four political parties – Progressive Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and the Green Party – a policy recommendation package in early July, outlining UMSU’s five core suggestions on how to improve postsecondary education in the province, and have already met with multiple parties to advocate for the following:
- Provide for international students by reinstating their healthcare coverage;
- Increasing the operating grant for Campus Manitoba by 50% to enable them to facilitate the creation and expansion of Open Education Resources in Manitoba postsecondary curriculums, and implement a credit transfer database to ease student mobility between provincial institutions;
- Reinstate Access Program funding and bursaries that were dropped in 2018-2019 to empower more Indigenous and northern students to overcome geographical and systemic barriers to education;
- Reinstate provincial operating grants for postsecondary institutions to pre 2017-2018 levels to provide universities with the funding necessary to give students and researchers the tools to drive innovation and prosperity in the provincial economy.
- Preserve zero-interest student loans in recognition of how they help fulfill Manitoba’s Post-Secondary Education Strategy (2015), support the career mobility of graduates, and will be instrumental in developing the skilled workforce necessary to fill the government’s labour demand forecasts.
In addition, we are pushing parties to reinstate the inflationary tuition freeze that was in place from 2012-2017; look into grants to offer more Indigenous language courses; increase funding for mental health and sexual violence supports for students; and broaden the eligibility of numerous scholarships and bursaries to include mature and part-time students.
We also plan on keeping students updated on policy pledges made by each of the parties throughout the campaign period, and running a robust Get Out the Vote campaign to mobilize students to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
For media information, please contact:
Jakob Sanderson, President – University of Manitoba Students’ Union